When people vacation in Cancun the sea is generally the focus of their activities. Diving and snorkelling are some of the most enduringly popular pastimes in the area; this is partly due to the exceptional clarity of the waters, but mainly because of the Great Mesoamerican reef (the second biggest in the world). Cancun and the Riviera Maya at large are packed with dive schools that can take you on tours, let you borrow equipment, and even help you get your certification! Here’s what diving in Cancun really means!
Where to Dive in Cancun
Great Mesoamerican Reef
You would miss out, in all honesty, on a great experience if you were to stay in Cancun and never see the Great Mesoamerican reef, one of the best places to dive in Cancun. This huge reef is split into many smaller sections, of which many are great diving spots! Aristos reef is a great example of this; this reef can be found off of Punta Cancun and is host to an incredible array of beautiful sub-aquatic life including Barracudas! We would recommend that you take a guided tour unless you are a very experienced diver because the currents here are strong (and also that you don’t wear shiny bracelets etc, as the sparkle or shine given off can resemble the kind of fish barracuda prey upon!). Manchones reef is another option for keen divers of all levels; there is a huge amount of wildlife in the area, but the current is not so strong!
MUSA (Cancun’s Subaquatic Museum)
This underwater exhibition is one of the most unique collection of dive sites in the world, offering great spots to dive in Cancun. The submerged art of Jason DeCaires Taylor was placed on the seabed with the hope that it would become covered with coral and create an exceptionally beautiful artificial reef. This dream was realised and one side-effect was the creation of a magical place; a section of the seabed where reality and magic seem to mingle, creating a paganistic, surreal atmosphere that one has transcended the world as it is known. A dive here will not easily be forgotten.
Shipwrecks where you can dive in Cancun
Cancuns shipwrecks make for incredible, sometimes eerie, diving; there are a huge number of shipwrecks, some of which were deliberately sunk to rehabilitate a failing ecosystem by creating a man-made reef (over a period of time). The El Frio cargo ship is a particularly wonderful site to dive in Cancun as you can spot turtles here, but we would recommend you take a guide with you unless you are very experienced.
The ocean is not the only diving haven in Cancun; there are caves which prove excellent places to explore, if you have the experience to handle them! A good example is Sleeping Shark cave, just off the coast of Isla Mujeres; a cave where you can commune with some of the friendly shark species. Black tips, bull sharks, and grey reef sharks can all be seen here. These are the most eerie places to dive in Cancun.
We would be remiss if we did not mention to you the wonderful cenotes that surround Cancun; cenotes are freshwater sinkholes that, over time, become unique and incredible ecosystems! There are many that are open to exploration for the experienced diver. It is, however, always much safer to go with a guide as the currents can catch you off guard and even experienced guides have become lost in underwater cave systems. Cenote diving, however, remains the pinnacle of experience for many divers.
For more information about where to dive in Cancun, ask your hotel concierge.